– Visit the On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse Instagram page to hear more of Kristy’s personal thoughts and reflections on our Middle East projects.
Thank you for joining us for another episode of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse. Today, Kristy Graham is taking you behind the scenes to hear how Samaritan’s Purse is working in the Middle East.
For years, families in this region of the world have experienced unimaginable suffering because of war, conflict, famine, drought, and fire. Situated on the historical lands of the Bible, the Middle East is known for its warm hospitality and rich culture. Tragically, countless lives are also marked by trauma, but with God’s direction, Samaritan’s Purse is helping restore their hope.
Kristy first hears from Caleb Drown, the regional director for Samaritan’s Purse in the Middle East. Caleb helps provide context about the history of the area and describes how God is working in communities in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen through the efforts of Samaritan’s Purse.
“The people in the Middle East are a beautiful people of great character and tradition. As much as there has been evil that’s swept across the Middle East, that’s where the light of Jesus started. The light started in the Middle East and spread to the rest of the world.” —Caleb Drown
Caleb shared that while the ministry has served in Iraq for more than two decades, our current focus is helping families recover and rebuild what ISIS destroyed. By helping to rebuild homes and restore livelihoods, people are starting to see hope for their future. The Yazidi people, a small marginalized population in northern Iraq, have endured severe pain and loss at the hand of the violent group.
One man* who endured such trauma lived with his wife and four children in Mosul when ISIS attacked. After trying to flee, the man was tortured mentally and physically. After he barely escaped with his family, they were led to Samaritan’s Purse. After spending a few months in the ministry’s Parents Care Program, he’s now learning how to communicate with his wife and children about their horrifying experience at the hands of the terrorist group.
“We come alongside these Yazidis who are absolutely hopeless, and they have lost everything with no idea what the future holds. With the love of God and the resources He’s provided us, we can give them a hope.” —Edward Densham
Syria has likewise experienced extreme loss. They’ve been in a civil war for over a decade—leaving families displaced and living in tents. Of the 23 million people who called Syria home at the start of the war, more than five million have sought refuge abroad, and nearly seven million are internally displaced. Basic necessities like food, water, and electricity are a scarcity. In 2019, Samaritan’s Purse began responding in northern Syria to meet these humanitarian needs.
Kristy and Caleb discuss the severe water crisis that is causing families to pay unattainable prices for clean water to drink. The only remaining option is to drink the salty water surrounding them. This has led to severe illness for these already-suffering. These strong Syrian families have escaped war and are now facing new trauma and sickness. Through this, Samaritan’s Purse is supporting two clinics to meet basic medical needs.
In addition to Iraq and Syria, Samaritan’s Purse is responding in Yemen, which has been called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. While navigating its sixth year of civil war, the country is also navigating a deadly famine, corrupt economy, and plethora of deadly diseases. In a country of 25 million people, and 20 million are reliant on aid and some form of assistance just to survive.
The episode wraps with specific prayer requests both for the healing of Middle East communities and for Samaritan’s Purse staff working in the region to bring hope in Jesus’ Name.
“[We are] praying we have our eyes open to be able to see through all that’s in front of us. With all the opportunities that God has there—both individual and large opportunities—be praying that we’ll have the wisdom to have an impact with people who are suffering so much. Through our help, they’ll see the love of God.” —Edward Densham
*Names and specific locations have been excluded to protect their safety.